A POLITICIAN has hailed a “real step forward” in her campaign to get tougher sentences for dangerous drivers.
Clwyd South MP Susan Elan Jones welcomed the Government’s announcement of a review into sentencing guidelines for dangerous driving offences during a Parliamentary debate on Monday.
Clwyd South MP Susan Elan Jones is spearheading the call to increase sentences for motorists convicted of dangerous driving and introduced the Driving Offences (Review of Sentencing Guidelines) Bill earlier this month in Westminster.
During the latest debate in the House of Commons on Monday Government Minister Jeremy Wright said the Sentence Council had been advised to review sentencing guidelines for dangerous driving and they would look into the possibility of an increase in maximum sentences.
Ms Jones is seeking tougher sentences for drivers following the death of nine-year-old Robert Gaunt of Overton, who died after being hit by a car driven by an unlicensed and uninsured driver in 2009.
David James Lunn, 61, of Moorland Avenue, Queen’s Park, Wrexham, served 10 months of a 22-month sentence for perverting the course of justice and was banned from driving for four years.
Speaking after the Westminster debate Ms Jones said: “This is very positive indeed and marked a real step forward.
“What was really striking was how there is support for this Bill across the parties and a lot of people want change.
“It demonstrated how strong cross party support is for the campaign is and also how many problems there are with sentencing and driving offences.
“The Government spoke openly about wanting sentencing guidelines to be reviewed and for the first time, hinted the Government may also look at actually increasing the maximum sentences available.
“That is a very welcome shift of position and is vindication of our campaign for justice.”
Ms Jones added that during the debate there was a positive indication from the minister that some driving offences should be charged under manslaughter rules.
Speaking during the debate, Ms Jones said: “Ten months in jail for ending the life of a young boy is not right. It is not right when the deliberately dangerous actions of an individual are not treated seriously enough by the justice system.”
Mr Wright was unable to give a timescale for the sentencing review, but did confirm the Government was pursuing the subject as a matter of ‘urgency’.
He told MPs: “We are continuing to look closely at the legislative framework relating to serious driving offences, and we are considering whether the current maximum penalties reflect the seriousness of offending behaviour.”
He added that any increase into sentencing for maximum penalties would have to go through Parliament in primary legislation.
The Bill will next be brought up by Ms Jones in Parliament on Friday, February 28.